With a short week to go until the opening round of the Betfred Challenge Cup, and the start of the Super League season just a fortnight away, a number of Super League sides took the opportunity to blow off the cobwebs with ‘friendly’ and ‘testimonial’ games over the weekend.
We take a quick look at the action from some of those games as coaches had a chance to try out some of their possible line-ups in a semi-competitive environment, and we got the chance to take a look through various streaming services as all games were played behind closed doors due to the ongoing pandemic.
Hull FC took on the York City Knights on Thursday evening and ran out 28-22 winners after a spirited performance from the Championship side. Swift had grabbed an early try for the Airlie Birds before Fonua picked up a Connor grubber kick to go in. Sneyd converted both for a 12-0 lead. York then responded through loanee Dean but tries from Tuimavave and Ma’u gave Hull a 22-6 half-time lead. Hull made substantial changes for the second half and it opened the door for a York fightback but not until Satae had put FC even further ahead after pushing his way over under the sticks for 28-6. York tries from Jones-Bishop, Salter and Dow-Nikau gained York plenty of respectability but still left them adrift on the final scoreline.
The Catalans Dragons took on Toulouse Olympique XIII in a pre-season French derby on Saturday afternoon and got a bit of a scare, a second half fightback necessary to take a 40-28 win.
It was an injury hit Castleford Tigers who also took on Hull KR on Saturday afternoon in Adam Milners Testimonial match, but they managed to secure a 30-20 win. A breakaway try from Trueman opened the scoring for the Tigers adding a second without response from the Robins. Evalds grabbed his first try for his new club before Litten got one back for KR. Kenny-Dowall and Quinlan both scored early in the second half for KR to get them right back in the game at 14-24 and when Lawler was next over the whitewash the lead was down to just four points. But the Tigers held on for the remaining twenty, punctuated by an Shenton try twelve from the finish to seal the win.
The Tommy Makinson Testimonial saw St Helens take on local opposition in the form of newly promoted Leigh Centurions. A last gasp drop goal from Ryan Brierley sealed a 25-24 win after a rusty but competitive encounter which had seen the Saints with a commanding 18-6 half-time lead. Ellis opened the scoring for Leigh, but tries from Naiqama, Thompson, and man of the moment Makinson gave the home side the big half-time lead. Russell and Sidlow both scored for Leigh to level the game at 18-18 before a Brierley try edged Leigh ahead again at 24-18. It looked to be a fairy tale ending for Makinson as he added the fourth Saints try to secure a draw, but that didn’t account for Brierley moment of magic to snatch the single-point win.
Wakefield Trinity beat the Dewsbury Rams by 30-10 after controlling the game from the first whistle. Lyne opened the scoring in the seventh minute with Tupou adding a second five minutes later. Lyne put Senior over on twenty for an 18-0 lead before Morris picked up a Rams try before a Miller try for Trinity made it 24-6 at the interval. Early in the second half Kelepi put Wakefield 30-6 ahead and the Carr try on the hour mark was scant consolation for the visitors.
The Huddersfield Giants took on the Leeds Rhinos on Sunday afternoon and romped to a big first half lead. Sezer opened the scoring for the Giants inside the opening ten and after a response from the Rhinos through Broadbent, McIntosh and Cogger both grabbed four pointers for the home side for a 16-4 lead at the break. The lead was extended in the second half through Louis Senior but the Giants were done scoring after a fifty-second minute Russell conversion. The Rhinos then took the initiative with tries from Luke Briscoe and Liam Sutcliffe, both converted by the boot of Martin. But it was too little, and too late, with the Giants taking the 22-16 win. One of the main talking points from the game was an injury to Ash Handley which is likely to see him miss the start of the Rhinos season.
The Salford Red Devils are under new management and got a boost to their pre-season with a 20-6 win over the Wigan Warriors at the AJ Bell Stadium. Salford drew first blood through Watkins before the only Wigan points of the afternoon were secured through Sam Powell and the boot of Hardaker. Sio added a second for the Red Devils before the interval for a 12-6 lead. Neither side could break down the oppositions defence until the sixty-fourth minute when former Wigan man Escare went over, and that was backed up four minutes from time when Inu scored the fourth try of the evening to give Salford a 20-6 win.